Lean Six Sigma

April 5th, 2010

I came across Lean Six Sigma while browsing at a local bookstore.

What caught my attention was the word “lean.”

As I started reading, I was struck by how similar the principles in this hot new trend in management strategy are to the ones I described in the AOV.

Especially the emphasis on speed.

I’ve always been convinced that the principles I wrote about in the AOV are universal principles that apply to everything we do, but I didn’t quite expect the close parallels between them and LSS.

Leanness or economy makes sense. If you have less to do, you can do them faster.

It’s nothing new of course—just common sense. But I have to admit, “Lean Six Sigma” sounds a lot better than plain old “economy.”

What intrigued me are the inevitable layers of organizational paraphernalia that have grown around the concepts.

Taking a cue from the martial arts, practitioners of Lean Six Sigma have to go through several stages before they attain “Master Black Belt” status. And that’s just one small part of the complex LSS architecture.

It’s interesting to note that the whole LSS phenomenon emerged from some Toyota assembly plant and from Motorola’s highly innovative management team.

The question now is, which part of LSS is responsible for Toyota’s current problem with runaway cars.

2 Responses to “Lean Six Sigma”

  1. Tim Fowler Says:

    Interesting one Philip. As both a former student of yours and a practitioner of Lean and Six Sigma, both share a sense of economy. So much of what I learned from you, and share with my students, is the sense of economical movement because the wasted movement gets in the way of the music. A great parallel. And, both allow for a significant amount of creativity and freedom.

  2. Philip Hii Says:

    Good to hear from you Tim! Yes, universal concepts never become obsolete. Call it any name you like and their power remains undiminished.

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